I’ve posted already on Pietist founder Philipp Spener’s famous program for reform, Pia Desideria, and on the Pietists’ inclusion of church history as a key discipline in theological education. Here is a summary, borrowed and reshaped from notes from my teachers David Steinmetz and Duke and Richard Lovelace at Gordon-Conwell, of some key Pietist traits and values:
A few key traits of the Pietists
I’ll put these in terms of movements: from what the Protestant Orthodox folk stressed in their teachings, to what the Pietist folk stressed.
The Protestant Orthodox folks (also known as Protestant “scholastics”–the people working in the mode of Philip Melanchthon to systematize Reformation theology) tended to see the church as having been put on earth to cultivate true belief. The Pietists emphasized the translation of this belief into the ordinary structures of daily life. Not that believing is unimportant. They shared with the Orthodox the notion that if you got the theory wrong you would get the practice wrong. BUT what is important is that your theology becomes immediately embodied in life. Continue reading